Thursday, January 19, 2012
Give me a Drink
Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” John 4:1-15
Last night we slept in the same room as our granddaughter Lilly. At one point she woke up and we took her into the bed with us to help settle her down. She was laying between us, three bodies breathing together, the little one flopping around trying to find a comfortable position in a strange setting. We are not strangers to her but not her every day encounters. I remember vividly the days when her aunts and her mother were of similar ages, and had a hard time settling down. A very tender place, this group of tired bodies all trying to find rest in an unsettled time, half way between sleeping and waking, vulnerable to the many discomforts of waking exhaustion.
The woman at the well is a wonderful story of strangers who come together to fulfill a very basic need. Jesus and he woman are both desperately in need of refreshment. He was weary and she was anxious, as they were both cultural enemies, while being neighbors too. A common need, an unsettled place and yet very tender as well. In this intimate encounter, the woman finds that God is not far off but nearby, that she is not a stranger but a member of God's family, beloved and welcomed, despite her many misstep on her journey. They came together as strangers with a common need. Jesus took this encounter and made it a moment of transformation and community. And God promises to use our moments of exhaustion, need and weariness, finding ways to transform our moments for the renewing of our hearts and spirit. God makes our desperation holy, and blesses our need with a new community.
Today I ask God to help me see the moments of struggle and challenge as moments of transformation and intimacy with God. May the moment when we feel most strange and out of place be used by God to make us family. May our weariness and dislocation be invitation for God to draw near. And may we offer the gifts of love and forgiveness that we have found to those we encounter today, knowing that God will make enemies friends, strangers family, and we will be known by the way we love those who are far off and excluded this day.